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Animal Sculpture

Animal sculpture is a sculptural style in its own right. This specific genre deserves the same recognition as nude, marble, bronze and resin sculpture.

The representation of animals and the animal body has long been a source of inspiration for sculptural creations and yet it was once considered a minor genre in Western European decorative arts. Ironically, animal sculpture was of the utmost importance to Ancient civilisations. Countless ancient Egyptian buildings for example were adorned with grandiose representations of felines and Sphinxes. More generally within the visual arts, animals were rarely represented in their own right, and were often depicted accompanying or symbolising mythological figures or even character traits.

Aside from its mythical representations, animal sculptures were also popular with suzerain states who used monumental bronze sculptures of lions or eagles to symbolise the immensity of their power.

However it wasn't until 1831 that the sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye finally established animal sculpture as a noble art, thanks to his work Tiger devouring a Gavial Crocodile at the Salon de Paris. It was no longer fashionable to depict animals as unreal, mythological creatures in the decorative arts and instead naturalism and realistic representations of animals characterised the sculpture of the period.

Ideas about nature's wealth and abundance meant that all creatures deserved to be carefully and meticulously recreated in the closest likeness possible. Mythical animal interpretations were left behind and artists concentrated on capturing the finer details of an animal's fur, muscles or mouth.

A new wave of renowned sculptors emerged. Pierre-Jules Mêne, Antoine Aigon and Jean Germain Demay are just a few examples of some of these pioneering artists. Particularly interested in 'exotic' species (snakes, gazelles, elephants, giraffes, hippopotamuses…), they all explored representing the natural world in a variety of different ways.

In the 20th century, realist tendencies gradually faded away and a new group of creative minds began to experiment with animal sculpture as part of the shift towards modern sculpture.

Numerous artists tried their hand at animal sculpture whilst applying new aesthetic criteria which was largely influenced by modern and contemporary art movements: Abstract art, Impressionism, Cubism, Expressionism. Guided by key surrealist influences, which could not have been further removed from the traditional styles of the past century, a new bestiary was created. Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti were among the key figures who helped to reinvent the way artists endeavoured to sculpt animals.

In contemporary animal sculpture, radically redefining artistic techniques and the way we represent living beings has taken precedence over realistic proportion sizes and lifelike features. Artists no longer refrain from accentuating a particular body part, removing a limb for example or creating an entirely new hybrid beast. However, many artists are also skilled at creating hyper realistic animals that seem so real they almost appear to be alive.

To help you get an idea of the latest animal sculptures, take a look at Artsper's collection of sculpted animals, selected from some of the best contemporary art galleries and made by artists including Jacques Dufrane, Raymundo Fabian Melchor and Roxana y Jesus Hernandez.

Collector’s Guide: Collecting Sculptures

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Philippe Buil, Cheval Barbe 49-21, Sculpture

Philippe Buil

Cheval Barbe 49-21, 2021
33 x 27 x 12 cm
Sculpture

$1,694

Béatrice Fernando, Tête de cheval, Sculpture

Béatrice Fernando

Tête de cheval, 2021
34 x 16 x 16 cm
Sculpture

$728

Patrick Villas, Le cygne, Sculpture

Patrick Villas

Le cygne, 2021
100 x 110 x 100 cm
Sculpture

$47,673

Philippe Berry, Hippo et Papillons, Sculpture

Philippe Berry

Hippo et Papillons, 2019
30 x 20 x 20 cm
Sculpture

5,000 - $ 10,000

Stoz, Stozland© the rat with 3d glasses, Sculpture

Stoz

Stozland© the rat with 3d glasses, 2021
15 x 12 x 8 cm
Sculpture

Sold out

Dirk De Keyzer, Hariette, Sculpture

Dirk De Keyzer

Hariette, 2016
84 x 20 x 30 cm
Sculpture

10,000 - $ 15,000

Chantal de Sutter, Jules, Sculpture

Chantal de Sutter

Jules, 2021
30 x 13 x 11 cm
Sculpture

2,500 - $ 5,000

PyB, Toro de laguiole, Sculpture

PyB

Toro de laguiole, 2021
20 x 29 x 3 cm
Sculpture

$301

Irena Tone, Stainless bear, Sculpture

Irena Tone

Stainless bear, 2021
32 x 21 x 24 cm
Sculpture

$598 $665

Ule Ewelt, Lionesse, Sculpture

Ule Ewelt

Lionesse, 2020
24 x 56 x 30 cm
Sculpture

$2,760

Chanoir, Cha Au Grand Coeur, Sculpture

Chanoir

Cha Au Grand Coeur, 2021
100 x 81 x 3 cm
Sculpture

$6,022

Milko Dobrev, Eagle, Sculpture

Milko Dobrev

Eagle, 2021
47 x 12 x 7 cm
Sculpture

$1,694

Patrick Cornée, Cool dog in the street, Sculpture

Patrick Cornée

Cool dog in the street, 2021
28 x 28 x 20 cm
Sculpture

$2,484 $2,760

Valerian Sioridzé, Berani, Sculpture

Valerian Sioridzé

Berani, 2020
32 x 34 x 25 cm
Sculpture

$1,317

Art Vladi, Puma pink, Sculpture

Art Vladi

Puma pink, 2021
36 x 18 x 23 cm
Sculpture

$2,258

Thierry Benenati, Gare au gorille, Sculpture

Thierry Benenati

Gare au gorille, 2021
70 x 67 x 40 cm
Sculpture

$47,673

Lee Berthille, Le roi, Sculpture

Lee Berthille

Le roi, 2016
73 x 122 x 50 cm
Sculpture

$11,542

Natalie Laudon, Boxy comics, Sculpture

Natalie Laudon

Boxy comics, 2020
65 x 25 x 35 cm
Sculpture

$5,646

Michel Soubeyrand, Mao dog, Sculpture

Michel Soubeyrand

Mao dog, 2018
42.5 x 15 x 15 cm
Sculpture

$3,136

Bennie, Coquillage enfumé, Sculpture

Bennie

Coquillage enfumé, 2021
17 x 36 x 20 cm
Sculpture

$1,414

Christine Guillemin, Grande grue du soleil levant, Sculpture

Christine Guillemin

Grande grue du soleil levant, 2019
160 x 100 x 30 cm
Sculpture

$30,110

Derek Sullivan, Peg Rail #8 (Parrots, Photocopiers &), Sculpture

Derek Sullivan

Peg Rail #8 (Parrots, Photocopiers &), 2014
90 x 90 x 12.5 cm
Sculpture

$6,273

Joe Suzuki, Balloon puppy (Blue and Violet), Sculpture

Joe Suzuki

Balloon puppy (Blue and Violet), 2021
38 x 28 x 13 cm
Sculpture

$3,387

Philippe Pasqua, Vanité, Sculpture

Philippe Pasqua

Vanité, 2015
37 x 20 x 30 cm
Sculpture

$22,708

Valerie Marty, Piaf Chanel Blanc et noir, Sculpture

Valerie Marty

Piaf Chanel Blanc et noir, 2020
16 x 12 x 10 cm
Sculpture

$502

Vlad Olariu, Luxuria II, Sculpture

Vlad Olariu

Luxuria II, 2018
150 x 120 x 60 cm
Sculpture

$12,546

Chad Holliday, 'Balanced Oblique' Abstract Glass Sculpture, Sculpture

Chad Holliday

'Balanced Oblique' Abstract Glass Sculpture, 2019
40.6 x 30.5 x 12.7 cm
Sculpture

$9,000

Christophe Comerro, Pand'ours Ferrari, Sculpture

Christophe Comerro

Pand'ours Ferrari, 2021
40 x 35 x 35 cm
Sculpture

$1,104

Pablo Picasso, Picador et taureau, Sculpture

Pablo Picasso

Picador et taureau, 1959
42 x 42 x 42 cm
Sculpture

$18,818

Robert Combas, Jason le cheval écologiste et les deux équilibristes de l’Ave Maria, Sculpture

Robert Combas

Jason le cheval écologiste et les deux équilibristes de l’Ave Maria, 2004
240 x 180 x 52 cm
Sculpture

100,000 - $ 250,000

Carolina Sánchez de Bustamante, Wide Mouth Frog with a Green Tuque, Sculpture

Carolina Sánchez de Bustamante

Wide Mouth Frog with a Green Tuque, 2014
34 x 15 x 15 cm
Sculpture

$680

Jacqueline Schäfer, Strange Bird 4O, Sculpture

Jacqueline Schäfer

Strange Bird 4O, 2018
22 x 17 x 5 cm
Sculpture

$151

Louis Magre, Le chat Avengers, Sculpture

Louis Magre

Le chat Avengers, 2020
45 x 27 x 18 cm
Sculpture

$2,258

Diederik Van Apple, Enjoy your life, Sculpture

Diederik Van Apple

Enjoy your life, 2018
24 x 13 x 5 cm
Sculpture

$232

Corneille, Chants d’oiseaux, Sculpture

Corneille

Chants d’oiseaux, 1992
54 x 68 x 12 cm
Sculpture

$10,664

William Sweetlove, Cloned Bulldog with pet bottle, Sculpture

William Sweetlove

Cloned Bulldog with pet bottle, 2011
47 x 50 x 20 cm
Sculpture

$8,155

Nicolas Krauss, Teddy Love Chrome, Sculpture

Nicolas Krauss

Teddy Love Chrome, 2020
23 x 15 x 10 cm
Sculpture

$3,638

Alexandre de Poplavsky, Art Toy Unicorn, Sculpture

Alexandre de Poplavsky

Art Toy Unicorn, 2019
55 x 30 x 30 cm
Sculpture

$7,527

Stathis Alexopoulos, French Bulldog, Sculpture

Stathis Alexopoulos

French Bulldog, 2019
22 x 20 x 12 cm
Sculpture

$690

Charlotte Champion, Big Culbuton, Sculpture

Charlotte Champion

Big Culbuton, 2014
25 x 15 x 57 cm
Sculpture

$6,273

VanBinh, Bird I, Sculpture

VanBinh

Bird I, 2021
24 x 23 x 20 cm
Sculpture

$853

Hiro Ando, Panda San Blue, Sculpture

Hiro Ando

Panda San Blue, 2011
50 x 35 x 35 cm
Sculpture

$18,818

Yves Pires, Panthère, Sculpture

Yves Pires

Panthère, 2019
40 x 120 x 30 cm
Sculpture

$9,409

Julien Marinetti, Teddy Popi, Sculpture

Julien Marinetti

Teddy Popi, 2015
40 x 27 x 33 cm
Sculpture

$16,058

Bernard Rives, Big Misty !, Sculpture

Bernard Rives

Big Misty !, 2017
56 x 37 x 28 cm
Sculpture

$4,077

Jean-Michel Pradel-Fraysse, Amour, Sculpture

Jean-Michel Pradel-Fraysse

Amour, 2020
44 x 72 x 26 cm
Sculpture

$15,055

Mireia Serra, Rebel, Sculpture

Mireia Serra

Rebel, 2020
7 x 17 x 10 cm
Sculpture

$1,229

Etienne, L'Oiseau dans la main, Sculpture

Etienne

L'Oiseau dans la main, 2016
20 x 21 x 11.5 cm
Sculpture

$31,364

Paco Raphael, Balloon Bambi (Red), Sculpture

Paco Raphael

Balloon Bambi (Red), 2020
25 x 20 x 20 cm
Sculpture

$2,007

Âme Sauvage, Petit chien bleu, Sculpture

Âme Sauvage

Petit chien bleu, 2021
19 x 10 x 14 cm
Sculpture

$364

Takahiro Kudo, Untitled (Horshoe Coin Purse), Sculpture

Takahiro Kudo

Untitled (Horshoe Coin Purse), 2016
9.5 x 8.5 x 2 cm
Sculpture

$5,269

Gelitin, Horse, Sculpture

Gelitin

Horse, 2011
120 x 50 x 100 cm
Sculpture

$6,147

Ciane Xavier, When Everything Stops, Sculpture

Ciane Xavier

When Everything Stops, 2020
50.9 x 127 x 38.1 cm
Sculpture

$4,266

Stefano Bombardieri, Struzzo Rubik, Sculpture

Stefano Bombardieri

Struzzo Rubik, 2016
58 x 40 x 21 cm
Sculpture

$30,110

Emilie Muzy, LE CHEVAL, Sculpture

Emilie Muzy

LE CHEVAL, 2020
44 x 35 x 12 cm
Sculpture

$1,568

Kokimoto, Safety First!, Sculpture

Kokimoto

Safety First!, 2019
37 x 39 x 46 cm
Sculpture

$3,764

Catherine de Kerhor, Papa ours, Sculpture

Catherine de Kerhor

Papa ours, 2019
25 x 20 x 24 cm
Sculpture

$6,085

Our recommendations Saône De Stalh, Az, Sculpture

Saône De Stalh

Az, 2016
36 x 34 x 12 cm
Sculpture

$2,007

Kami, Petite renarde, Sculpture

Kami

Petite renarde, 2019
20 x 11 x 11 cm
Sculpture

$765

Sandra Courlivant, Cavalier du Naadam, Sculpture

Sandra Courlivant

Cavalier du Naadam, 2020
29 x 42 x 14 cm
Sculpture

$2,133

Kiko & Jayet, Ours Jayet Hermès, Sculpture

Kiko & Jayet

Ours Jayet Hermès, 2020
60 x 48 x 33 cm
Sculpture

$7,276

Pierre-Jean Chabert, Tête de gorille, Sculpture

Pierre-Jean Chabert

Tête de gorille, 2019
34 x 23 x 23 cm
Sculpture

$6,524

Gilles Nicolas, Le Chimpanzé hurlant 2/8, Sculpture

Gilles Nicolas

Le Chimpanzé hurlant 2/8, 2017
39 x 25 x 22 cm
Sculpture

$15,055

Val Carr-Ortolan, Le Minotaure, Sculpture

Val Carr-Ortolan

Le Minotaure, 2021
60 x 30 x 27 cm
Sculpture

$2,133

60 Artworks on 2361

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